'Capote' Director in Negotiations to Direct Brad Pitt in 'Moneyball'

12/05/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blooger, Matt Jussim

Bennett Miller, the Academy Award nominated director of “Capote,” is in negotiations to direct Sony’s thought-to-be-dead “Moneyball” project, according to Entertainment Weekly’s Hollywood Insider blog.

According to Nicole Sperling: “The studio announced today that Bennett Miller is in negotiations to helm the “Moneyball” project, starring Brad Pitt, that was dismantled after Steven Soderbergh exited the project in June 2009, a few weeks before production was to begin.”

The project, based on the bestselling book by Michael Lewis, tells the story of Billy Beane (Pitt), general manager of the low-ranked Oakland A’s. Beane defies baseball convention to recruit an eclectic bench of players in extremely unorthodox ways. The screenplay is from Steve Zaillian (“American Gangster”) and Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing”).

News broke in June that Columbia Pictures president Amy Pascal halted production on the film after reading the final draft of the script by Oscar-winners Soderbergh and Zaillian, deeming it too different from earlier versions. After that, it seemed as though the film was on its way into development hell, or would be scrapped completely.

The movie began its rehabilitation when Sorkin was brought on to write a draft, drawing on Zaillian's earlier take. Since then, Columbia, Pitt and the producers met with directors in recent weeks to get the movie back on track after pulling the plug on the project in June.

Bringing in a director like Miller on the project is a smart and beneficial idea for the studio. With a story like “Moneyball,” you need an unconventional director equipped with a sharp mind. Sure, you could make the movie as a straight biopic of Billy Beane, but that wouldn’t be capturing the essence of the book at all. It’s about much more than that, including statistics and the tradition of baseball itself. Only a director with a unique vision could do something like that.

That was one reason why I felt Soderbergh was a good choice, but the producers got scared off when his script called for interviews of real-life players and other methods untraditional to sports movies.

Miller also has proven that he is part of that same category with his documentary “The Cruise,” and 2005’s “Capote.” Miller is best known for directing the latter film, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie earned Hoffman an Oscar and also netted a nomination for Best Picture.

The director could propel “Moneyball” to future awards success if he is given the creative freedom he enjoyed on “Capote.”

Barring any additional set backs, "Moneyball" should be released sometime in 2011.

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes